iPhone Life magazine

RC Helo more fun than a barrel of monkeys

 

helo tc.jpgI have rarely had so much fun and so much frustration at the same time. Flying the Helo TC is not the easiest task in the world. It takes a little skill and a learning curve. The controls are delicate and you need some space to maneuver until you get your skills down pat.

Helo TC is a twin rotor remote control helicopter that is superbly engineered. It lights up like Ferris wheel and is sturdy as a house despite its seemingly delicate appearance. It would have to be tough to put up with the abuse I gave it learning to fly.

It takes about a half hour to gain a full charge, and that only gives you about 15 minutes of flying time, which is plenty for one session because if takes a lot of concentration.

I thought maybe I was just a lousy pilot with degenerating coordination. So I invited a couple of my buddies over for coffee one morning. I pulled Helo whom I call Harold out of the bag and challenged them to fly it, which they both gladly accepted.

One of the fellows is a seasoned and decorated helicopter pilot who flew many missions in Viet Nam and evacuated the wounded under fire. Surely he could fly Harold no sweat. Well, as it turned out, he wasn't much better than I was, which made me feel a little better.

Eager to take over the controls and chuckling condescendingly at our efforts, the next fellow took the pilot's seat. He was a real hotdog. He had been a jet fighter pilot with some harry missions under his belt too. The first thing he did was take Harold straight up in the air and crashed into the ceiling. Poor Harold was unable to recover and came crashing down flopping around on the floor like wounded road kill.

We all agreed that we needed more room. The guys suggested we just go outside. I told that that was not recommended by the manufacturer because a wind could blow the Helo away and the infrared signals can get jammed.

So, we decided on the gym at the university where there was plenty of room. We did much better there and were able to hone our skills with some room and time to maneuver. After that we did much better in more confined spaces. But you need to have room to practice in the beginning.

Helo TC comes what a dock or flight that clips on to your iPhone or iPod Touch by clipping it on. You download a free app from iTunes, put in the batteries, charge the Helo, and you are in business. We even tried it with an iPad and an Android; it worked well.

 You can use the joystick or tilt the dock to control the flight. The dock has the ability to store up to three programs for controlling a drone flight. For instance, you could record a mission that flies from the living room to the kitchen, lands on the counter, comes back into the living room, circles the coffee table and lands. But to tell you the truth, I haven't had any missions I have wanted to record yet.

Helo comes with a USB charging cable, a dock, and an assortment of spare parts in case you have any unfortunate mishaps while learning to fly.

If you want to see some real pros flying the Helo in a hilarious office dramatization scenario, check this out:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t29xKIzXnGM

You may find that you can't live without this terrific high tech toy, and there's no reason you should. The normal price is $49.95, but you can get them for about half the price here.

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